The Beginning

How do I explain where I am right now? I’ve seen and felt so much these past three weeks, how can I possibly pinpoint anything, concrete or abstract, that I take with me on my journey home? I need more time. I need more time. I need more time.  

I don’t think this prompt asked us to reflect on the material items that we bring back with us, but I think the material items can offer insight to my state of mind, since I’m struggling to articulate it on my own.

I’m taking back a lot of presents (get excited Masmoudi household!). I’m taking back compassion, truth, beauty, love, and hope written on the petals of a paper flower. I’m taking back a smile card. I’m taking back a withered red leather notebook. I’m taking back a cloth heart to give to someone I love. I’m taking back a beautiful blue and golden necklace. I’m taking back a storyboard I made with my friends Peter, Akash, and Salman. I’m taking back drawings and notes made for me by fourth graders in my Teach for India classroom.

All of these things are inconsequential out of context, but when coupled with my memories of this trip, they become beautiful tokens and reminders of everything I saw and did in India. One of the presents for my mother is a kurta that I bought from Gramshree. The paper flower was tied around my neck at Manav Sadhna. The smile card was given to me at Seva Cafe. The pages of the notebook are filled with hurried scribbles as I tried to copy everything I saw and felt. The cloth heart was given to me at Gramshree. The necklace was gifted to me by my lovely Cathedral school host family. The storyboard was made with Akanksha students about our future selves reforming education in Mumbai. The drawings and notes were given to me by my TFI students as they clung onto me and cried,

“Didi, please don’t go! Please stay. We like you, Didi.”

I’d like to stay. I need more time. I need more time. I need more time.


More. I guess thats what I’m taking back in a word. More love. More connections. More friends. More understanding. More complexities. More consciousness. And I want more still.

As I’m finishing this blog post, my fellow Niswarthians around me are laughing, joking, and making general fools of themselves. I think they’re the biggest thing I want more of. These people are my family. I love them all. I need more time. I need more transformation.

My only comfort is that I know this process is not over. Aren’t human beings always “in the process of becoming” (Tousology)? I have the time, and now the space, to process and work through all of this “moreness” within me. The process isn’t over when my plane leaves the Mumbai runway.

This isn’t the end.